Northwest’s gas guzzling planes

Marketplace Staff Jul 18, 2006
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Northwest’s gas guzzling planes

Marketplace Staff Jul 18, 2006
HTML EMBED:
COPY

TEXT OF STORY

CHERYL GLASER: A tentative deal between Northwest Airlines and its flight attendants has helped the airline avert the threat of a strike for now. Rank and file workers will vote later this month whether to approve the deal. But as Annie Baxter reports, bankrupt Northwest still has other hurdles to clear.


ANNIE BAXTER: If Northwest’s flight attendants ratify the new contract, and a small group of about 40 technicians finalizes its own deal, the company will achieve its labor-savings goal of $1.4 billion.

But even if Northwest hits that fixed target, it still has to take on a moving one: oil.

Aviation analyst Michael Miller says Northwest has the oldest airplane fleet among the world’s major carriers.

MICHAEL MILLER: It’s as if Northwest has a fleet of Hummers compared to a fleet of Toyota Priuses at other carriers. It’s a much more critical issue when oil is this high.

Miller says as oil surpasses $76 a barrel, Northwest’s fleet restructuring will be just as important as its labor component.

In St. Paul, I’m Annie Baxter for Marketplace.

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.